Session 15. Practical drying tips
Step 1. (15 minutes)
Step 2. (5 minutes)
Step 3. (30 minutes)
Step 4. (25 minutes)
Step 5. (30 minutes)
Step 6. (15 minutes)
SMMARY OF TEMPERATURE FACTORS THAT AFFECT THE PRESERVATION AND DRYING OF FOODS
Blanch (full steam) at 100°C, Boil water to sterilize for treatment solutions for 20 minutes.
Pasteurize fruit for 15 minutes and vegetables for ten minutes at 80°C.
Over 60°C, food will cook, scorch and lose nutrients.
Food kept in dryer at 57°C for one hour is pasteurized sufficiently.
The range of 45°C to 60°C is good for drying food quickly with little loss of nutrients and color and protection from microorganisms and enzyme action.
Fish will cook in direct sunlight even in the 20°C to 30°C range.
Below 40°C in a humid climate, food can spoil on the drying trays.
Store dried meat and fish at 5°C or below. High protein foods spoil more easily than other foods.
PRACTICAL FOOD DEHYDRATION
Operation of the dehydrator is not complex but requires conscientious, systematic attention. Each operator should develop a satisfactory method of food dehydrating to match his/her climate, daily schedule and food source. The following guidelines will help to establish a dehydration system.
1. Choose fresh, ripe (not overripe), undamaged foods.
2. Slice food into long, thin slices, less than 1/2" thick. Cut meat or fish into small chunks for soups or stews. Use a stainless steel knife to minimize discoloration. Cut and prepare foods quickly. Hake all pieces uniform in size.
3. Lay pieces close to each other without over Tapping. Allow for air to circulate between pieces.
4. Blanching is not advised but will aid preservation in some cases.
5. Rotate food trays 180° once each day for even drying.
6. Weigh food before drying and after three days of drying. (Weigh without trays for better accuracy.) Food is "dry for storage" if final weight is 1/5th of original. (This varies depending on percentage of moisture in various foods.) Remove 88%, of moisture to stop spoilage. (See formula below.)
7. Dehydration time depends on humidity, type of food, food moisture, percent sunshine, etc. Three to four sunny days is average.
8. Use a thermometer in the cabinet to maintain temperature by manipulating vent damper.
Dry Weight Formula
Example: What will be the dry weight of 6 lbs. of apricots if their original moisture is 92%?
Storing Dehydrated Foods
1. Store in a cool, dark, dry place, in small, airtight containers.
2. Store in paper bag or cheesecloth for one week to absorb surface moisture. Transfer to glass jars or hard plastic containers.
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